The Impact of Residential Schooling on Indigenous Health in Canada, Australia and the United States: A Systematic Review

Helen Cerigo
Alexander Levesque, University of Western Ontario
Nancy Wu, McGill University
Amelie Quesnel Vallee, McGill University

Indigenous peoples in Canada, the USA and Australia share similar colonial histories, where governments used extensive policies of residential schooling as the primary instruments of assimilation. Beyond the effects of displacement, children faced chronic abuse and neglect in these institutions and emerging evidence indicates that these childhood experiences have had ongoing effects on the well-being of Indigenous people and communities. This systematic literature review is the first to summarize the current literature on the relationship between residential schooling and Indigenous health in Canada, the USA and Australia. Six electronic databases were systematically searched, and 37 articles were identified. The majority of studies demonstrate strong, negative associations between both personal and familial history of residential school attendance and a wide-range of physical and mental health outcomes. These findings contribute to the understanding of the continuing consequences of colonial policies and may help guide trauma informed health services and interventions.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1